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New Zealand Unemployment Rate Approaching Historical Lows

New Zealand Unemployment Rate Approaching Historical Lows

Posted on 7th August 2019 by Russell Phillips

Employment Statistics Min (1)

June 2019 Quarter Labour Market Survey 


At just 3.9% New Zealands can once again celebrate one of the worlds lowest unemployment rates.

Key facts

  • Unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent.
  • Underutilisation rate fell to 11.0 percent.
  • Employment rate rose to 67.7 percent.
  • Filled jobs rose 0.4 percent.
  • Average ordinary time hourly earnings rose to $32.37.
  • Wage rates increased 2.1 percent annually.

Employment at a glance (seasonally adjusted)  

June 2019 quarter

Quarterly change

Annual change


Percentage points

 Unemployment rate 




 Underutilisation rate 




 Employment rate 




 Labour force participation rate 















 Filled jobs 




 Working-age population 




 Wages at a glance 



 Wage inflation (salary and wage rates, including overtime)  

 All sectors




Private sector




Public sector




 LCI analytical unadjusted 







 Average ordinary time hourly earnings 




 Hours at a glance (figures seasonally adjusted) 



 Average weekly paid hours for FTEs (QES) 

 Ordinary time











 Total weekly paid hours (QES) 




 Total actual weekly hours worked (HLFS) 





LCI – labour cost index

QES – quarterly employment survey

HLFS – household labour force survey

FTEs – full-time equivalent employees   

Unemployment and underutilisation rates fall, while employment rate rises

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in the June 2019 quarter, down from 4.2 percent last quarter.

This quarter’s unemployment rate is the lowest since June 2008, when it was 3.8 percent.

For men, the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent, down from 3.9 percent last quarter. This is the lowest unemployment rate for men since March 2008, when it was also 3.6 percent. For women, the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent, down from 4.4 percent last quarter.

PercentUnemployment rate by sex, seasonally adjusted, June 2007–June 2019 quartersMenWomenTotalJun-07Dec-07Jun-08Dec-08Jun-09Dec-09Jun-10Dec-10Jun-11Dec-11Jun-12Dec-12Jun-13Dec-13Jun-14Dec-14Jun-15Dec-15Jun-16Dec-16Jun-17Dec-17Jun-18Dec-18Jun-1934567Stats NZMar-13● Men: 5.1● Women: 6.4● Total : 5.7

The Māori unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in the June 2019 quarter, down from 9.4 percent last year. This reflects a decrease in the number of unemployed Māori (down 6,400). At the same time, the number of Māori who were not in the labour force (NILF) increased (up 14,600).

This is the lowest Māori unemployment rate since the June 2008 quarter, when it was 7.2 percent.

Labour market summary – Māori, June 2019 quarter

The number of unemployed people fell to 109,000 (down 7,000) in the June 2019 quarter. This reflected 4,000 fewer unemployed men, and 2,000 fewer unemployed women.

Annually, there were 13,400 fewer (unadjusted) people unemployed (down 11.1 percent). The number of unemployed people aged 25–29 years fell by 4,800. This was driven entirely by women (down 5,000).

Over the year, the number of unemployed Europeans fell by 13,000 (down 18.5 percent), while the number of unemployed Māori fell by 6,400 (down 19.4 percent).

Employment rate

The employment rate rose to 67.7 percent in the June 2019 quarter, up from 67.5 percent last quarter.

For men, the employment rate rose slightly to 72.4 percent, up from 72.3 percent last quarter. For women, the employment rate rose to 63.1 percent, up from 62.9 percent last quarter. This is the second-highest employment rate for women on record.

The rise in the employment rate reflected the number of people who were employed (up 21,000) increasing by a greater proportion than the working-age population (up 21,000).

In the June 2019 quarter, there were 21,000 more employed people, up to 2,680,000 – 13,000 more women, and 8,000 more men.